Thu. May 26th, 2022

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There were 374 times where OC Transpo buses could not move during last Monday’s snowstorm, according to details shared with transit commissioners.


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Transit general manager Renée Amilcar provided the information in response to questions from Coun. Riley Brockington on the bus appearance in the snow.

The 60-foot articulated buses caused the most headaches, and Transpo counts 226 times when one of them was immobilized during the snowstorm.

There were 108 times where 40-foot buses were stuck, and 39 times where double-deckers were stuck. A Para Transpo vehicle was stuck once.

The number of times buses got stuck sometimes involved the same bus – in other words, 374 different buses did not get stuck on Monday.

OC Transpo’s largest union drew attention to the high number of jammed buses after the massive snowfall. On Wednesday, the union counted at least 150 buses stuck, forcing many operators to wait for hours without having access to food or toilets.


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About 48 inches of snow fell on Ottawa last Monday.

Amilcar said lack of traction was not the only reason buses could not move. Large accumulations of snow in the undercarriages also prevented buses from moving on many occasions, she said.

In his questions to staff, Brockington asked about the possibility of OC Transpo using snow tires for its bus fleet.

The problem of snow tires often arises when buses have difficulty coping with heavy snowfall. The transit department has regularly reviewed the idea of ​​bolting snow tires on the buses and has decided to do so. A tire change throughout the fleet would be expensive – there are more than 1,000 buses between the conventional service and Para Transpo – and potentially inefficient if the tires are used year-round.


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Amilcar, which has extensive experience in bus operation and maintenance, used Brockington’s questions to offer a deep dive into OC Transpo’s range of bus tires.

Transpo mostly uses the Bridgestone R192 tire and has also used the Michelin X Incity Z tire. Both tires meet a criterion called 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) for snow traction, but they are not officially considered snow tires in North America, Amilcar explained. (3 The PMSF designation is a traction standard under the European United National Economic Commission).

Transpo has a retreaded program where a Bridgestone / Bandag BRM tire is used on most drive shafts on the 40-foot and 60-foot buses, Amilcar said.

Transit personnel have spoken to others in the industry who have begun using tires with “a more aggressive tread pattern,” but the tires do not appear to be classified as a winter tire in North America, Amilcar said. Using the tires can have drawbacks, such as increased fuel consumption, noise and higher abrasion resistance, she noted.

City of Toronto buses are equipped with a tread all season with snow tires on drive shafts.



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